When Vengeance Is Not Sweet

February 2, 1996 - Ma'ariv - Geula Cohen (former M.K.)

A document recently published in Washington states that Israel is taking advantage of "ethnic ties" (read: blood relations that she has with her brothers, the American Jewish community) to spy in the USA, "in order to gain military secrets and intelligence information". The document states that spies like Jonathan Pollard continue to supply Israel with classified information.

I do not have to sneak into Jonathan Pollard's prison cell and place my ear up against his heart to know what is going on in his heart now. No. Not vengeance. Certainly not sweet vengeance.

For a man like Pollard,


that might hurt the nation and the state for whose security he has been rotting in the pit of prison for more than 10 years as a "spy",

could never be sweet.

And this, even in spite of the behaviour of the American Jewish community, and all the successive governments of the Jewish State of Israel: not only did they throw him to the dogs, they imprisoned him among wolves - the way the American administrators have treated Pollard has indeed been


Today when I see and hear the hysterical and anxious reactions of the American Jewish leadership to this Pentagon document saying, "I'm not guilty! I'm not guilty", it adds to the feeling of anger that I felt back then, when they meant Pollard, and joined his accusers - it adds a feeling of contempt. The same

Abe Foxman

, head of the Anti-Defamation League, today universally condemns the American document that essentially sees every Jew - just for being a Jew - as a "collective security risk"; he refused to see and avoided meeting two Members of Knesset, Edna Soladar and myself, when we tried to approach his office in Washington for help back then.

As representatives of the Knesset Committee for Pollard, we wanted to seek his [Foxman's] help, and we also wanted to help him smell the stench of anti-semitism that permeated the unprecedentedly harsh sentence that had been meted out to Pollard. We also wanted to try to convince him just as we had tried to convince other Jewish leaders of the Presidents' Conference, in previous meetings, that

if the American Jewish leaders abandon Pollard today, a day will come when they themselves will be facing similar accusations.

While it may be possible to understand the feelings of frustration, fear and servitude of the diaspora Jew, caught between two citizenships,

it is impossible to forgive the government of Israel for what they did - turning their back on Pollard, even after he was arrested, even after Israel admitted running him, and even handing over evidence to his prosecutors.

"Sign a petition to the President of the United States to show clemency to Pollard on humanitarian grounds? No! Not me!" So replied Avraham Burg, at the time, to the head of the Knesset Committee for Pollard. Burg, who today is the head of the Jewish Agency, added, "Pollard is a criminal."

I only hope that the Pentagon Document opened the eyes and hearts of Burg and others like him, to see and to understand that as far as the nations are concerned,

every Jew in the world

, from the point of view of being part of

"a collective security risk"

is just that. In other words:

a criminal.

  • See also: Jonathan Pollard responds to the Washington Post